Meeting preparation is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you stay in control of the meeting agenda. Yet, I am amazed how many executives and sales people are on autopilot when they get ready for an important meeting. They arrive with a presentation or talking points based only on their company’s data. What doesn’t come with them is a series of questions crafted from good client reconnaissance.
Preparing for a Meeting: Research and Empathy
Preparing for a presentation or sales call is a repetitive act. It’s easy to lose your creativity. But when you do, you lose your empathy for your client and their issues. Client research, thoroughly performed, will reveal unique aspects of any business, giving you an opportunity to show your skills at effective problem solving. It also demonstrates a great deal of respect towards your client.
Good Research Leads to Successful Meetings
Good research will lead you to want to ask specific questions not only to verify the research, but to understand where your client is headed and you can help them get there. It seems basic but really, how can you make any strategic recommendations to your clients if you don’t know specifics about their overall business and current issues?
Showcase your research through intelligent probing questions. Not only will you get information you can use but, you’ll demonstrate the prep work you’ve done, indicating concern and respect for your client. Remember that simply looking at their brochure and web site will only show you the tip of the iceberg. Due diligence, done well, will take you below the water line to where the real story lies!
Have you ever walked into a meeting knowing you were not at all prepared? Share that story with us in a reply below! -SG